|Extra X1 services were run in connection with the Sundown Festival at the Norfolk Showground on September 1st. Grahame Bessey kindly sent this picture of Norwich Gemini 36168 on one such service.|
King's Lynn currently have 35 drivers for the X1 which is one less than usual. This combined with drivers being away on Olympic duties plus the usual holidays and occasional sickness has led to supervisors stepping in on odd occasions of late.
Tuesday saw the route return to relative normality after the emergency repairs to the A47 between Wisbech and Guyhirn were completed. 37569 was off the road for MOT work and 37572 for a safety service leaving 37571 undergoing attention for some body repairs. There don't appear to have been any swaps either and all buses completed their turns as booked. Punctuality was fair with many services running around 6 minutes late. There was just one bad patch with westbound services from Wisbech early to mid afternoon - these ran as follows : K16-XL03 37156 13 late, K17-XL04 37574 on time, K18-XL05 37159 21 late and K19-XL06 37577 2 late. Once again the B7s letting the side down. 37567 was out on K15-XL02 fitted with one of the new drivers seats.
On to Wednesday and I was absent at Chappel Beer Festival. I drove to Norwich to catch the train and stayed overnight. En route to Norwich I passed several X1s, all running pretty much to time and well loaded, no doubt due to the fine weather. Bruce and Andy B kept an eye on things for me. Only swap was K5-XL11 changing 37574 for 37567 at some point.
Thursday was uneventful except for some vehicle swaps to facilitate servicing requirements and timekeeping was fair.
Friday was remarkable in that everything seemed to run almost on time, despite the heavy traffic and fine weather. Y7-XL13 was seen going to Peterborough 5 late at Terrington at 09.05 and was 13 late returning, but this seemed to be the exception. By afternoon, even bankers for a heavy delay like Y13-XL19, K14-XL01 and K16-XL03 were all punctual. K18-XL05 with 37157 was slightly late but that was about as bad as it got over here. At Lowestoft though, Malcolm noted Y7-XL13 with 37575 15 late in (as seen by me earlier) and 5 late departing westbound, then L8-XL14 came in just 6 late with 37573 followed by some B7 bedlam with 37160 on Y9-XL15 which was 20 late leaving for Peterborough. On the X2 services were on time except the 13.40 ex Norwich with 32655 which was 15 late in.
|K17-XL04 passes Bruce's bungalow with 37566 on Friday afternoon. I had the camera at completely the wrong setting - I'm blaming the 2012 weather, I'm just not used to sunny conditions. Apologies to Steve, I thought this was going to be a good shot !|
After a quiet Friday, everyone seemed to take to the roads on Saturday for the crawl to the coast. This upset the X1 big time as you might expect. Jamie decided to take Y7-XL13 into work in King's Lynn, so I joined him for a quick spin on my golden ticket ! We arrived at Walpole Highway at 11.01 to find Bruce texting us to say that we'd just missed 37576 on Y6-XL12 which had gone eastbound at 10.59 (23 late). Westbound we saw 37568 on L12-XL18 almost on time which was encouraging. Eventually James turned up with 37577 heavily loaded and running 16 late. With us due into King's Lynn bus station at 11.24, I had planned to return on the 11.45 (Y13-XL19). This was not going to be possible though, as once we rejoined the A47 at Tilney, we tottered along in the traffic up to the Pullover Roundabout where we became embroiled in a queue which stretched all the way up the Bypass to the Hardwick. After a delay we managed to escape the caravans and chaos and joined Nar Ouse Way which was clear. Approaching the South Gates I espied Y13-XL19 just arriving from the coast at 11.45 (14 late). This then stopped at the South Gates for a driver change and we pulled in behind it for the same reason. I took the opportunity to nip off 37577 and join 37573 in front. Only problem was that Y13-XL19 is supposed to change drivers on the outward rather than inward, so our driver hadn't yet appeared not realising the change of arrangements. The Yarmouth man who had brought Y13-XL19 in was getting a reduced break owing to the late running, hence the change of plan.
We set off at around 11.50 and were 16 late departing the bus station. Having said that we fared better than some other services. En route westbound we passed 37569 on L8-XL14 at Eau Brink running 26 late and then 37567 on L9-XL15 just as we came into Walpole Highway 14 late. Our driver, Ray, slowed down to alert the eastbound drivers to travel via West Lynn/South Lynn to avoid the congestion on the A47.
Things got worse before they got better, eastbound services from Peterborough at lunchtime passed Bruce at 13.14 (Y10-XL16 with 37157 running 39 late) and 13.52 (L11-XL17 with 37579 17 late).
With 37563 now stopped for MOT and 37571 still awaiting inspection following its fire, this just left 37564 spare which was in situ for a safety service on Monday morning. The late running by 37157 meant 37564 had to be extricated from the depths of Vancouver Avenue to work Y10-XL16 forward at 13.02 with 37157 then retiring after its late arrival. After all this things returned to normal very quickly and by mid afternoon everything was on time within a minute or two.
Later 37158 was taken off K5-XL11 and the 17.15 to Peterborough ran with 37157, this was to get 37158 ready for a service on Monday. Depending on the severity of 37571's fire damage and apparently it doesn't seem bad at all, with 37563 stopped for MOT too, there will only be one bus spare for the next few days.